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On Demand Video: The Worcester Chorus | Handel Messiah

Tuesday, December 5, 2023 - Sunday, December 31, 2023

Unlimited viewing throughout December
Mechanics Hall logo
Music Worcester thanks the following sponsors of this presentation:
Mass Cultural Council logo
Mass Cultural Council logo


Click “RENT ON DEMAND VIEWING” to purchase access through the end of December 2023 to our recording of The Worcester Chorus’ performance of Handel Messiah at Mechancis Hall on December 2, 2023. Program details below:

Directed by Chris Shepard, The Worcester Chorus is one of America’s oldest and longest-running choral ensembles. Attending their annual performance of Handel’s Messiah at historic Mechanics Hall on the first weekend of December each year is a holiday tradition for many families and choral music fans in the Greater Worcester community and beyond.

The chorus will be joined on stage by vocal soloists and the Worcester Festival Orchestra. Read below for more information on each soloist:

The Worcester Chorus

Directed by Chris Shepard, The Worcester Chorus is one of America’s oldest and longest-running choral ensembles. Attending their annual performance of Handel’s Messiah at historic Mechanics Hall on the first weekend of December each year is a holiday tradition for many families and choral music fans in the Greater Worcester community and beyond.

The chorus will be joined on stage by vocal soloists (read more below) and the Worcester Festival Orchestra.

Carley DeFranco, soprano

Carley DeFranco is a Boston-based soprano known for her committed dramatic portrayals. This season brings performances with Emmanuel Music, Lorelei Ensemble & Boston Ballet, Blue Heron Renaissance Choir, Voces8, Symphony New Hampshire, Con Brio Choral Society, Harvard-Radcliffe Chorus, True Concord Voices & Orchestra, Boston Baroque, Handel and Haydn Society, Falmouth Chorale, Oregon Bach Festival, Monadnock Music, the American Soloists Ensemble and the National Chorus of Korea.

Carley is proud to have sung more than 80 cantatas with Emmanuel Music in their weekly Bach Cantata Series as well as the St. John Passion, Magnifiat, Mass in B Minor, St. Matthew Passion, St. Mark Passion, Easter Oratorio, John Harbison’s Chorale Cantata for soprano, oboe, violin and strings, Supper at Emmaus, Abraham, Handel’s Ode for St. Cecilia’s Day and Angelo in the staged recording of La Resurrezione. Her solo cantata highlights from Emmanuel Music include Jauchzet Gott in allen Landen! BWV 51, Selig ist der Mann BWV 57, and Ach Gott wie manches Herzeleid, BWV 58. This year brings regular appearances in the cantata series, Reena Esmail’s This Love Between Us, Christmas Oratorio and Britten’s Les Illuminations.

An avid concert soloist, Carley has appeared with the Eastern Connecticut Symphony Orchestra (Mozart’s Requiem), North Carolina Master Chorale (Handel’s Alexander’s Feast), Harvard Radcliffe Collegium Musicum (Monteverdi Vespers), Boston Cecilia (Rudoi Our Transcendental Passion), American Bach Soloists Academy (Laß, Fürstin, laß noch einen Strahl, BWV 198), and Arlington Philharmonic Orchestra (Gounod’s Messe Solenelle, Saint Saëns’ Oratorio de Noël, Schubert’s Mass in Eb Major). This season she sings with Symphony New Hampshire (Mozart Requiem), Dedham Choral Society (Vivaldi Gloria), Heritage Chorale (Vaughn Williams Dona Nobis Pacem), Con Brio Choral Society (Mozart Requiem and Forrest Jubilate Deo), Harvard-Radcliffe Chorus (Beethoven Mass in C and Choral Fantasy) and the Falmouth Chorale (Brahms’ Requiem).

Carley’s operatic credits include Susanna (Le nozze di Figaro) with Boston Opera Collaborative and Greater Worcester Opera, Lucy Lockit (The Beggar’s Opera) with Emmanuel Music, The Rose (The Little Prince) with NEMPAC Opera Project, the title role in Alcina with Opera del West, Yvette (La Rondine) with Boston Opera Collaborative, Nannetta (Falstaff) with Emerald City Opera and many world premieres in Boston Opera Collaborative’s critically-acclaimed annual festival of ten-minute operas: Opera Bites. She is known for her committed dramatic portrayals; Boston Musical Intelligencer called her performance as Lucy Lockit “a joy to watch and hear” and her performance in Boston Opera Collaborative’s staged Frauenliebe und Leben “almost filmic in its realism”. Last season, she joined the Boston Lyric Opera Chorus for performances of Cavalleria Rusticana and Champion (Terence Blanchard).

In demand for her performances of new music by American composers, Carley has given premieres at the Kennedy Center, Fog X FLO on the Emerald Necklace, New England Conservatory, Middlesex Community College, Mount Holyoke College, Longy School of Music, and American University. This year she was privileged to perform two new works by Mason Bynes with Boston Art Song Society: Dowland Impressions, arranged for voice and electric guitar and Songs for the People for voice and piano. An ever-evolving musician, Carley joins forces with Ben Schwendener in their duo Lyric, performing improvisations based on natural geometric design and contemporary poetry. Carley’s a proud member of the Byrne Band, founded by Corrine Byrne & co in 2022.

While all performing is founded in community, Carley finds special joy in singing at gatherings and community events. She has performed pop-up opera at the Roslindale Holiday Wander, sung from the back of a pick-up truck with Mass Opera, curated and performed concerts with Boston Opera Collaborative on the Emerald Necklace Series and throughout Boston, hosted private Zoom concerts with Emmanuel Music’s Musical Conversations initiative and given many tailored programs at birthday parties, wedding celebrations and holiday affairs.

Carley was the 2018-19 Lorraine Hunt Lieberson Fellow with Emmanuel Music, a 2019 Fellow with American Bach Soloists, and a third place winner of the American Prize (Professional Division) in Oratorio/Art song. She is a current soprano scholar with VOCES 8 and will perform on their American tour in 2023. Carley is the Director of After School Music at Dexter Southfield and a Voice Instructor in Harvard University’s Holden Voice Program. She offers private lessons (in-person or online) from her home in Somerville.

Learn more on Carley’s website at carleydefranco.com

Allison Messier, mezzo-soprano

Mezzo-soprano Allison Messier shares her unique voice and spirit with the world by singing in a variety of genres including artsong, operas, oratorio and sacred music.

It was clear to Allison from her earliest days watching the opera singers on Sesame Street and the Muppet Show that she had to be a singer.  She made her professional debut at age 12 as the Third Spirit in Mozart’s The Magic Flute. Since that early start, she has travelled extensively around the world studying, performing and perfecting her art.

As an oratorio soloist, Allison has performed in numerous major works including the Duruflé Requiem with the Litchfield County Choral Union; Zelenka’s Te Deum with Con Brio Choral Society; the Rachmaninov Vespers with the Boston Russian Choir; the Bach Christmas Oratorio with the Greater New Bedford Choral Society; Dvorak’s Mass in D and Haydn’s Mass in Time of War with the Bermuda Chamber Choir; John Rutter’s Feel the Spirit, Bach’s Magnificat and Händel’s Messiah with the Clearlakes Chorale, as well as Vivaldi’s Dixit Dominus and Mozart’s Requiem with Portsmouth Pro Musica.

Allison’s opera credits include Dido in Dido and Aeneas and La Zia Pricipessa in Suor Angelica with Piccola Opera NH; Marthe in Marie Magdaleine and The Abbess in Suor Angelica with Lakes Region Opera; Maman in L’Enfant et les Sortileges with Metro West Opera; and appearances with Opera Providence in the title roles of Carmen and The Romany Maid. She has also performed the role of Hansel in Hansel and Gretel for thousands of elementary school students with Opera New Hampshire’s outreach program.

Allison was a founding member of the early music groups Cappella Clausura, an all-female choir who performs music composed by women, and Vox Consort, a small ensemble dedicated to performing the works of J. S. Bach with only one voice on each part.

Bringing art song home. For almost a decade, Allison has been presenting recitals and house concerts in private homes throughout the Northeast. She especially loves bringing art song back to the space in which it was born; the homes of music fans and supporters. Though her repertoire spans centuries and a wide variety of styles, she has a particular fondness for French art song, especially the late work of Gabriel Fauré.

In addition to offering the traditional art song repertoire, she has expanded the song recital into new territory by combining the popular songs of Joni Mitchell, Cat Stevens, Björk, and other contemporary artists with the Elizabethan and baroque works of John Dowland and Henry Purcell. She released her debut album, ALLISON: Volume One, in early 2016 and a second album, ALLISON: Volume Two, in early 2017. These albums are available on iTunes, Amazon, Google Play, and Spotify.

Allison received her Bachelor of Music degree from New England Conservatory in 2007.  While at NEC, she appeared as a soloist on the Jordan Hall stage a number of times in works by Scarlatti, Brahms, and Britten.  She also sang the roles of the Third Lady in the Magic Flute and the Announcer in Gallantry with the undergraduate opera. Allison continued her training in Florence, Italy at the Bel Canto Institute and in British Columbia at the Vancouver International Song Institute.

Allison makes her home in Little Compton, Rhode Island, where she maintains a private teaching studio, Sakonnet Music, with her partner, conductor Jonathan Babbitt.

Learn more on Allison’s website at allisonmessier.com

Travis Benoit, tenor

Travis Benoit, tenor, from Worcester, MA, received his Master of Music Degree from Manhattan School of Music in spring of 2020. Previous credits include Joseph Haydn’s The Creation (Uriel) with Providence Singers, The Passion According to Saint Luke (The Evangelist), Composer William David Cooper’s New Work, The Pirates of Penzance (Frederic) with The Valley light Opera Company, and Die Zauberflöte (Tamino) with Nahant Music Festival as a vocal apprentice. A concert soloist and recitalist throughout New England, he was selected to sing in Thomas Hampson Masterclass hosted by MSM in 2019. His current ensembles include CONCORA, EnsembleNYC, Providence Singers, Worcester Chorus, Vox Futura. Travis is adjunct vocal faculty with Phillips Academy in Andover as well as Choral Ensemble assistant at Endicott College in Beverly, MA.

John Salvi, baritone

An accomplished singer on both the operatic and concert stage, John Salvi’s clear and agile baritone voice has been hailed as “stentorian” by many and has been heard extensively throughout the Northeast United States as well as Washington, D.C. and Montreal, Canada. For over two decades, John has appeared as a guest artist with opera companies and choral societies throughout New England including Connecticut Opera, Opera Boston, Opera North, Commonwealth Opera, Granite State Opera, Arcadia Players, Handel Society of Dartmouth College, Hampshire Choral Society, South Hadley Chorale, The Keene Chorale, and Assabet Valley Mastersingers. He has performed under the batons of many prominent conductors including Willie Anthony Waters, Gil Rose, Kevin Rhodes, and Ian Watson.

Highlights of Mr. Salvi’s past season performances include Fauré’s Requiem with the Springfield Symphony Orchestra, Mendelssohn’s Elijah with the Quabbin Valley Pro Musica, Brahms’ Ein Deutsches Requiem with the Hampshire Choral Society, Mendelssohn’s Die Erste Walpurgisnacht and Haydn’s Die Jahreszeiten with The Keene Chorale, Beethoven’s Mass in C with the South Hadley Chorale, Tchaikovsky’s The Maid of Orléans with Odyssey Opera, Haydn’s Lord Nelson Mass and Mozart’s Requiem with the Assabet Valley Mastersingers, and Bach’s Matthäus-Passion at the 2019 University of Massachusetts at Amherst Bach Festival and Symposium.

John earned his Bachelor and Master of Music degrees from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst where he studied voice with Paulina Stark. In addition to maintaining an active performing schedule, he is a music teacher and choral director at Haverhill High School in Haverhill, Massachusetts.

John Zeugner, Telegram & Gazette

In any event, there was, as always, in Music Worcester’s presentation of Handel’s Messiah, a soul healing, community-building moment, for all listeners. The stupendous sounds of that music in the soft blue-white silk of Mechanics Hall, amid dark almost indistinguishable portraits on high, is surely tonic to overcome the despicable antics of our national politics.


Tuesday, December 5, 2023
Sunday, December 31, 2023


Pre-recorded concert with flexible viewing option(s).


Music Worcester